I woke up my sweet Johnny boy from his afternoon nap yesterday, and I knew something was wrong the second I picked him up. His sweet little head, usually perfumed with the fresh scent of youth that only a baby’s head can be, reeked of rancid, stinky spit up. Sure enough, it was all over his head, matted into his hair and all over his cribsheet. My heart sank. How long had he been asleep like that?
Needless to say, we spent the next hour in the tub waiting out the dance of ‘rinse and regurgitate’, until he seemed to be done. He never complained. He was happy to splash around and play with his toys, pausing every 10 minutes or so to let the stomach bug do its thing and let his mama wash it away before continuing to splash and play again.
Certainly I am not the first mother in the history of the world to wish she could take the bug instead. Certainly mothers for thousands of years have thrown the same prayer out there in the sadness that ensues when watching your sweet child battle any sort of sickness. And certainly there are worse fates than a stomach bug.
Still, I find in the uncertainty and drama of these episodes in life, where we are temporarily derailed by sickness or sadness and whatnot in our pursuit of happiness, that it is helpful to keep in mind that this is all part of that happiness we’re after. I am reminded this weekend over and over again: the pain proves the JOY. The sadness reveals the happiness. Even this morning, reading my online magazine Brainpickings: “Frustration is essential to satisfaction in love.”
And right after that in the new John Eldredge: “…the menace is essential to the exhilaration of achievement.”
In fact, I wrote about this a week ago, and here we are circling back around the same message (which maybe means I’m still learning this… I probably will be for a long time…)
The message is this:
There is purpose to the pain as long as you’re open to its lessons.
I think Jon Foreman, lead singer of Switchfoot, sings it best: “The shadow proves the sunshine.”
We slowed way down. We snuggled on the couch. I became his Momchair, and he let his little body rest. I sang him all the songs that comfort him, and he slept a long time.
Songbird is a song that I used to dream I would sing to my children one day. I recorded it a few years ago, and guess what? Anchor + Bell did, too. What are the odds?